About this Section

This industry includes the activities of households as employers of domestic personnel such as maids, cooks, waiters, valets, butlers, laundresses, gardeners, gatekeepers, stable-lads, chauffeurs, caretakers, governesses, babysitters, tutors, secretaries etc. It allows the domestic personnel employed to state the activity of their employer in censuses or studies, even though the employer is an individual. The product produced by this activity is consumed by the employing household.

It also includes the undifferentiated subsistence goods-producing and services-producing activities of households. Households should be classified here only if it is impossible to identify a primary activity for the subsistence activities of the household. If the household engages in market activities, it should be classified according to the primary market activity carried out.

This industry excludes provision of services such as cooking, gardening etc. by independent service providers (companies or individuals), see according to type of service.

Industries within this Section

  • Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel
  • Undifferentiated goods- and services-producing activities of private households for own use

About the industry

This is a largely undocumented industry in Turkey. The data and records are largely non-existent simply because the transactions take place in cash and services provided are consumed by the household employer. There are no official records marking start of employment and end of employment. The whole industry is based on a trust relationship between two parties and word-of-mouth feedback. However the barriers to entry into this workforce is very weak and does not require experience, thus potentially becoming a major income source for low income and low skill women of all ages in Turkey. Especially in big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir where agricultural work is not widely available, low-skilled women or women with little educational background do not have many options for employment. 

Women participation in the economy

Domestic labor may not be the most attractive of job types but it is crucial to all economies, especially developing economies like Turkish economy, because it provides employment for new entrants to workforce and also unskilled workers. In this case household employment taps into a huge workforce pool that is otherwise unemployable.   According to World Bank study, the percentage of female labor to total labor was measured to be about 30 per cent in 2018 but this percentage is higher if domestic labor employed by household is taken into account.   According to Turkish Statistical Institute, of the 30.8 million women above the age of 15, 14.6 per cent (4.5 million) were unemployed and 1 per cent of these unemployed women finding gainful income through domestic labor at current minimum wage would create 1.1 billion TL or 20.6 million USD added value per year.

Immigrant workers are engaging with the industry

Over the past ten years as Turkey has had more immigration from neighboring countries, domestic activities have been divided informally into two major groups. Daytime work and overnight work (live-in). Overnight work have domestic personnel living with the employer household are preferred more by migrant women because they provide room and board as well as a salary that is in USD/Euro and daily domestic chores are dominated by Turkish women. Such positions are highly coveted and the average salary for such a position can be between 700 USD-1,000 USD monthly which is in the range of 3,700–5,500 TL when converted. These types of positions are 6 days a week and is 24 hours because the employee rooms and boards with the employing household.

Report details

5 Oct 2019



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